Ari Natter, renewables and energy efficiency reporter for Bloomberg BNA, tweeted today that he was detained by Capitol Hill police. His crime? He was simply doing his job. Natter attended the American Council On Renewable Energy conference to cover the event. EPA chief Gina McCarthy was a speaker. After she made her remarks, Natter attempted to ask her a question. After all, that is what reporters do. The content of the question was not disclosed in Natter’s tweets, but he did tweet about his experience of being detained. These tweets were picked up and reported initially by the Daily Caller.
Natter was detained while covering the American Council On Renewable Energy conference, where McCarthy spoke. Also speaking at the conference was Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a staunch supporter of green energy who regularly takes the Senate floor to sound the alarm on global warming.
McCarthy spoke about renewable energy issues, including the EPA’s proposal to cut back the amount of ethanol refiners are required to blend into gasoline annually to avoid economic calamity. She also talked about the Obama administration’s view that energy and environmental policy go hand in hand.
While the question asked by Natter that led to his detainment is not known, here is what he tweeted just prior to his ‘arrest’.
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Natter was subsequently released after police checked with their superiors and ran a background check to determine if his press credentials were valid. They were, so they let him go.
Given the Obama administration’s scandals involving attacks on freedom of the press with the spying on of James Rosen; seizing the phone records of AP reporters; and his attempted plan to monitor news rooms, this latest incident will undoubtedly make one wonder about the future of a free press under an Obama presidency.